Monday, July 23, 2007

Two By Five


This October marks the third anniversary of the very first meeting of the Secret Mixed Tape Society. The origin of our group stems from a challenge. One day, Brandon emailed me a list of his Top Five Bands Of All Time, and dared me to follow suit. I won't post his here (as usual, I invite him to do so on his own), but the ones I came up with were: Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, Primus, the Beastie Boys and Camper Van Beethoven (in no particular order, of course). We both had come up with numerous bands who we had felt a passion for over the years, but the hardest part was having to sit down and narrow these lists down to only five. Things we took into consideration were how long we'd appreciated said band, the number of records owned, the extent at which we sought out particular items connected to said band, etc. I had my list narrowed down to seven. I ousted the final two, only, due to the extent of time I'd been listening to them in comparison to the other five. It would be accurate to point out that, within this frame of time, Brandon's line-up shifted around a bit as well.

Now that we had each devised our lists, what do we do with them? We came up with the idea of burning a CD-R which represented particular songs by each group. But how many songs each? How many songs total? I got to thinking about it and wondered how I could possibly showcase each band evenly, but without making the mix too long. One important concept to the art of the mix is to hold the listener's interest throughout. Thus, the best possible solution would be to have only ten songs, with two songs by each artist. Why two songs? The idea was to showcase more than one side of the band. On my own mix what I chose to do was have the first song be from the earlier half of the band's career, and the second song be from the latter half. Once I had all the songs selected, I would put them in chronological order.

I shared this idea with Brandon, who liked what he heard. After each of our mixes were finished, we figured we'd take it a step further and ask Jeff to participate. Jeff liked the idea and suggested we all get together and have a night-in to have dinner and drinks, and then listen to each mix individually.

We listened to, and appreciated, each of the other's comps. By night's end, we decided that we would do it again but, this time, with a different theme altogether. As I've mentioned in the past, the only stipulations of a mix are that they be ten songs and that each person try to use a band only once. As you may be able to tell from the cover of my 2x5, my mix consists of eleven songs. I had decided to cheat and put one more song by Camper Van Beethoven on my mix. It was their version of Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk," which, I didn't want to necessarily use since it's not really their song, but felt that I had to simply because of its brilliance. Of course, in true mixed tape etiquette, I didn't bother listing the song on the original cover. Thus making it a "hidden track."

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a Gilbert & Sullivan mixed-tape party once, and nobody came but Brandon. And all of his picks were from 'Iolanthe,' which I thought was sadly typical.

Frasier

24 July, 2007  
Blogger Mark Teel said...

Matt, list your top five of all time! mwt.

24 July, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I have to choose: (1) "The criminal cried as he dropped him down" from the Mikado; (2) The Judge's Song from Trial by Jury; (3) "I am the very model of a modern major general" from Pirates of Penzance; (4) "I once was as meek as a near-born lamb" from Ruddigore; and (5) "Kind Captain I've important information" from H.M.S. Pinafore.

24 July, 2007  
Blogger Mark Teel said...

I just wanted your top five artists. If you're going to play that way (ie, choosing songs), you're going to have to include TWO songs from each. mwt.

ps. H.M.S. Pinafore almost made my list.

24 July, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Pinafore is cool.

I used to call Abby's sleeveless dress a pinafore, but Kathy made me stop. Something about how we don't actually live in England, which I think is a technicality, since we speak the same language.

25 July, 2007  
Anonymous Yeff said...

Matt, seriously, that track listing rules!

25 July, 2007  
Anonymous Yeff said...

And Matt, here is my track listing. Mind you, this is for my 2 more by 5 more, which basically is my 6 though 10 bands of all time.

01 "Lincoln County" - The Kinks
02 "Bron Y Aur Stomp" - Led Zeppelin ("Led Zeppelin?" "Yes, Led Zeppelin")
03 "Lola" - The Kinks
04 "The Ocean" - LZ
05 "Trigger Cut" - Pavement
06 "Distopian Dream Girl" - Built to Spill
07 "Motor Away" - Guided By Voices
08 "Carrot Rope" - Pavement
09 "Sidewalk" - Built to Spill
10 "Everybody Thinks I'm a Raincloud (When I'm Not Looking)" - GBV

25 July, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Yeff. I"m glad you like it.

On your list, I've heard of the Kinks, Led Zeppelin, and Guided by Voices. But I could only speak intelligently about Led Zeppelin, and I don't own any of their records.

My own five favorite would have to be (and I hope it's okay if I mix the living with the dead):

Mstislav Rostropovich (cello)Michael Murray (organ)
Jascha Heifetz (violin)
Glenn Gould (piano)
Itzhak Perlman (violin)

25 July, 2007  
Blogger Mark Teel said...

Matt, what about my list? You know any of them?

25 July, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I know all of them. I have some Tom Waits, thanks to you. :+) Johnny Cash, too. I know who Camper van Beethoven is, though I don't know that I've ever consciously heard anything of his. And then the Beastie Boys ... where to begin? I have a long and painful association with the Beasties, starting from about the time I moved back into Mom and Dad's basement.

25 July, 2007  
Blogger Mark Teel said...

You seriously have Tom Waits?

25 July, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the best of 2006 compilation that you gave me. (You thought I stuck it under the couch or something, didn't you?) There was only one, though.

Frasier

27 July, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt, that Gilbert & Sullivan party was rad. Good memories there. My apologies for not being very original on my mix, but hey, I was young.

My first 2x5 was:
Guided by Voices
Pixies
The Soundtrack of Our Lives (thanks to Jeff for turning me onto them)
Pavement
The Jesus and Mary Chain

-B

27 July, 2007  
Blogger Mark Teel said...

You just need to bite the bullet and purchase the following box sets:

Tom Waits, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
Johnny Cash, The Legend
Beastie Boys, The Sounds Of Science
Camper Van Beethoven, Cigarettes & Carrot Juice: The Santa Cruz Years
MF Doom, Special Herbs Vol. 0-9
Elvis Presley, The Complete Golden Records Collection
AC/DC, BonFire

...more to come!

27 July, 2007  
Anonymous Rocknroll said...

Oh yea, my FIRST 2x5 was as follows:

01 "Lucifer Sam" - Pink Floyd
02 "Time" - David Bowie
03 "Xanadu" - Rush
04 "Sound and Vision" - David Bowie
05 "Within Your Reach" - The Replacements
06 "These Days" - REM
07 "Mission" - Rush
08 "One Slip" - Pink Floyd
09 "I'll Be You" - The Replacements
10 "Electrolite" - REM


I could have sworn I've typed this out before in this exact same blog.

27 July, 2007  

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